Sex ed for teenagers is a famously knotty subject, which explains why Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s children’s ombudsman, wants to eschew sex ed classes in favor of literature courses. “It is unacceptable to allow things that could corrupt children,” he said in a television interview. “The best sex education that exists is Russian literature.” (No word yet on what he thinks of Crime and Punishment.) (h/t The Paris Review)
This one won’t do much to lift the Sunday spirits, but it’s an important read nonetheless. Here’s Ed Miliband’s thoughtful essay at the London Review of Books on the growing inequality problem in Britain, which should look very familiar to those of us stateside. Here are a couple of less depressing Britain-related links to bring you back around.
Out this week: Barkskins by Annie Proulx; Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel; I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro; The Course of Love by Alain de Botton; and The Girls by Emma Cline (which we reviewed). For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
Gordon Lish is famous for being Raymond Carver’s very involved editor, but his work has never been thoroughly considered before. David Winters, Greg Gerke, and Jason Lucarelli have set out to change that with a roundtable discussion of Lish’s legacy. “What can we learn from Lish? Well, we can take away a set of techniques, to be sure; ‘rules,’ if rules are useful to us. But we can also salvage something that looks almost lost in our time: a sense of the real, lived stakes of writing, its risks and its rewards.”
“I believe that just as much as teens fear time, adults do as well. It would be selfish of us to think that they can understand and accept our evolution into adulthood much easier than we can. Maybe in reality, teenagers and parents are scared of the same things.” The LARB runs a 15-year-old reader’s honest review of The Fault in Our Stars.
“To say that late Victorian poetry is bleak would be akin to remarking that Wilkie Collins had a decent knack for plotting a novel. These poems are freighted with Gothic overtones, and it is not uncommon for some supernatural phenomenon to intrude upon what had started out as a seemingly harmless quatrain. We often encounter Death himself—or the Devil—who is something of a literary celebrity for the decadent poets. But what marks the best of these poems is that the outré is in service to something that we can think of as more desperate, and, wouldn’t you know, human.” Over at The Boston Review, an online-only essay looking at the peculiarities of Victorian decadent poetry.